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My Dan Hawkins story

I meet Dan Hawkins for the first time. Could have gone better.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

When I was in my first year at Boise State, I stayed in the residence halls. It was a great experience. It also very typical first year college stuff. Meeting new people, screwing up my sleep schedule, getting used to the whole "independence" thing, lying to the head coach of the football team for a player. You know. The usual.

I must preface this story in that the lie did not affect anyone but the player in question. No laws were broken, no one was harmed, it was not a "serious" situation, and I thought I was being helpful (at the time).  It has been over a decade since the chance meeting with Coach Hawkins, and the incident was quite minor. While I doubt Coach Hawkins even remembers me, I am still going to keep the athlete's name safe. So, for the sake of this story, I'll call him "Phil".

I lived in Towers. While most athletes lived in Chaffee, due to obvious proximities, there were an unfortunate few who lived in the furthest hall from anything of importance to athletes. Phil lived on the same floor as me. We hung out a few times. Mostly watching TV or playing Mario Kart on my Nintendo 64 with my other suitemates.

On the afternoon in question, I was in my room, between classes, watching TV (most likely procrastinating something). Phil walked in and sat down across from me. I could tell he'd just woken from a nap.

Phil: "Man, I messed up."
Me: "Oh? What happened?"
Phil: "I overslept my alarm. I missed a workout. This is not good."
This is probably where I should have given my condolences and given him suggestions on how to ask for forgiveness. But I am guessing "apology churros/blizzards" are not much of a "thing". Probably would not sway a coach either. Maybe the strength coach. Definitely not the head coach. Instead I felt pretty bad for the kid. We have all been in the situation where we have made a dumb, preventable mistake and feel awful about it. The bottom of your stomach just DROPS. Also, this kid was on a scholarship. Not only would he have to explain this to his coaches, but his parents as well. I was not sure how hard the coaches were going to come down, and I do not know the process of discipline for these infractions, but I did not want him to lose his scholarship.

So I came up with a suggestion. A year earlier I had a little…run­ in…with my car and unfortunately it had left a pretty sizable dent on the driver's side door (no other property was damaged, just my car). Drivable otherwise just aesthetic. So my bright idea? Lie to Coach Hawkins. Use the pre­-existing damage to my car and craft a story to tell Hawk. Thirteen years ago I justified it to save the scholarship of a friend. Today, it makes my stomach churn just thinking about it.

The story: we had decided to go to the mall that afternoon. When we were leaving the mall, while driving through the parking lot, we were side-swiped by another car. This was before cell phones were a fixture for everyone. Even though the damage was minor, I still needed to call the police and my dad. So between these things, and the respective waiting, Phil was in the hard spot of also being a "witness". So it was not HIS fault he missed his practice, right?! We felt it was good enough to warrant being excused from missing the practice. We had the time frame worked out, the visual evidence, and the gumption to do it. All or nothing at this point.

We head over to the old locker rooms. Phil sees his position coach and chats with him a bit

Position Coach: "Hawkins is going to want to see you, Phil."
Phil: "Yeah, headed there right now."
Down a few offices we end up at Coach Hawk's. He was not in there yet. So we, of course, waited. I tried to play it cool, to show confidence in our tale. Phil was visibly nervous. I could tell he was not comfortable with what was about to happen. In walked Hawk, not expecting anyone, a little surprised but as soon as he saw Phil, a small grin appeared on his face.
Phil: "I was in a car accident!" —and threw his hands up. The international sign of I am not guilty!
Coach Hawkins: "Uh­huh? Well. We'll go over it later Phil."
Phil: "So…we'll talk about it later?"
Hawk: "Yeah. You can go."

Surprisingly enough: we just left! That was it. I did not get to say anything, but was definitely grateful for it. I probably would have ruined it. Phil was relieved. I guess if Hawkins did not blow up, or throw him off the team right then and there, Phil figured he was ok. It was over as far as I was concerned. We headed back for the dorms to go about the rest of the afternoon as normal. I never had another meeting with Hawkins. For that I am thankful. I would have, and would be, very embarrassed by my previous transgression. But overall I was happy that Phil was not off the team.

Epilogue: if you're curious what became of Phil, he was off the roster the next year (I know, all that for a dude that left the following year anyway). I do not believe it was excuse of that missed practice. Probably for something else, or a situation change. He never started a game while he was here. If he HAD played, it would have been either garbage time or special teams. I tried googling him recently, but could not find any archived, old webpage with him on it. I think about that chance meeting often and whatever became of Phil. My guess is he is taking a nap.